Oct 19, 2011, 1:39 PM EDT
There are a number of NBA players who have signed deals of various lengths overseas — more than 60 now. But this one is a little unique.
Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi is headed back to his native Iran to play during the NBA lockout. His deal has an opt out to return to the Grizzlies, who have a $2 million option on him for next season (a procedural move that allows Memphis to match any other offers for the 7’3” big man).
Memphis Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi joined Melli Haffari basketball team on Tuesday.
The Ahvaz-based basketball team signed Haddadi on a short-term contract for an undisclosed fee. Following the North America’s National Basketball Association (NBA)’s ongoing lockout, the Memphis Grizzlies center joined Melli Haffari to play for the Iranian Basketball League and will return to Memphis in December to take part in the training sessions
Haddadi had played for Iran in the FIBA Asia championships and led the team averaging 15.4 points per game. The Iranians were undefeated through their first six games but fell to Jordan in the quarterfinals and ended up finishing fifth (not good enough for a berth in either the Olympics or next summer’s second-chance qualifying tournament).